Tips for Coping with Seasonal Depression

NORTH CAROLINA -- As the clocks change this weekend for the end of daylight saving time, some medical experts advise it is also a good time to watch for changes in your mood.

Dr. Chris Aiken, a psychiatrist at the Mood Treatment Center in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, said the rapid decline in the amount of sunlight we get can affect melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the body’s internal clock. The changes can lead to seasonal depression.

"This is a peak season for depression for many,” he said.

"Depression is low motivation and not enjoying anything...tiredness, overeating, appetite can go really high, you're moving more slowly."

Aiken advises that people who feel symptoms of depression can take steps to combat them.

"The simplest is physical exercise. That actually gets people out of winter depression and that's anything that gets your heart rate up, brisk walking 30 minutes a day,” he recommended.

He also highly suggests a light box, which simulates daylight. Psychotherapy and medication are also options.

"It's a type of depression where we actually know the cause, and can address the underlying cause behind it and the treatment really works with almost no side effects,” Aiken said.

 

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